After losing her two sisters Kathy and Patsy to breast cancer, our founder Barbara Hensley became painfully aware of the challenges faced by under-served women experiencing breast cancer.
In addition to Barbara’s sisters, brave and determined women inspired Barbara to embark on the important mission of Hope Chest for Breast Cancer®. Women like Nancy who Barbara met while she was accompanying her sister Patsy to the hospital for one of her chemotherapy treatments. Nancy’s three children sat at her feet during treatment because she could not afford childcare.
The combined six year struggle of her sisters and situations like Nancy’s were devastating to Barbara - so she did something. In 2001, Barbara resigned her corporate executive position and founded the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer where she drives our commitment to make a difference.
The Hope Chest for Breast Cancer business model is a combination of a not-for-profit foundation and for-profit retail stores that generate income to support charitable programs within the Twin Cities area. The business model includes a built-in revenue stream that helps to create an ongoing, sustainable contribution for the Foundation’s emergency assistance programs also in the Twin Cities area. Distributions are made annually by the Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation to local hospitals, treatment centers, clinics and other human service organizations that provide emergency financial assistance. Our long range vision is to open 50 Retail Stores nationwide and raise $10 million annually for breast cancer related programs.
The Hope Chest retail shops are open seven days a week and sell donated high-end women's clothing and accessories as well as upscale furniture and home decor accessories. The retail stores sell merchandise at a fraction of the cost because all of the items — from evening wear to end tables — are donated from individuals or corporations. Currently there are two retail stores located in the Twin Cities; one in Orono/Navarre and one in St. Paul. The mantra of our retail stores is "Excellent quality, excellent buys...all for an excellent cause."